director's cut; Larry Gelbart on W C Fields's `The Bank Dick'
Thursday 22 June 1995
You could do that scene today, absolutely. It wouldn't be surprising to have a black man in a bank, though, given the social climate, you'd be afraid he was going to mug you or kill you. People feel uncomfortable about those reactions now, except for black people themselves, especially in America, who never stop making fun of the fact that you're white and you're uncomfortable about the fact that they're black. White people seem far more sensitive about it.
Fields made a lot of mileage out of hating kids, hating married life, hating the boss, hating his daughter's fiance... just hating. I don't think we've ever had anybody like him since: somebody you adored for being unadorable. Andrew Dice Clay was just too rough; he had none of Fields's skill. And where is he now? But Fields is in the pantheon of American film comedians.
n Larry Gelbart is a writer-producer, whose credits include `Tootsie', `Movie, Movie', `Oh God', the TV show of `M*A*S*H' and the stage musical `City of Angels'
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